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Creator Nationality: Asian; Pacific; Micronesian
Creator Name-CRT: Belauan people
Title: Female Gable Figure (Dilukai)
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1800
Creation End Date: 1933
Creation Date: 19th-early 20th century
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Wood, paint, kaolin
Dimensions: H. 25 2/3 in. (65.2 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1978.412.1558a-d
Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller and Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1970
The Belau archipelago comprises one large and numerous smaller islands north of New Guinea. In Belauan society, men are grouped according to age and status. Until the mid-twentieth century, each group had a separate men's house in which they spent most of their time. Men's houses were impressive structures with high pitched roofs and large triangular gables, decorated with carvings and paintings.
The interior beams and gable planks were adorned with incised and painted images depicting scenes from local legends. Female figures such as this one were often placed above the entrance to the men's house. The figures depict a legendary woman named Dilukai whose excessive promiscuity caused her angry father to tie her in an exposed position to warn village women to be more chaste. Ironically, men's houses were frequently home to prostitutes sent from other villages to earn wealth for their families.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1978.412.1558a-d
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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